Brewster Kahle told me that the average of a web page on the Internet is 100 days before it either changes or disappears completely. Kahle
United States


00:00:05the voices of the older pot hello my name is Kent Bonnie and welcome to the forces of the our podcast so Bristol Kael is the founder of the internet archive if you've never use their archive it's been able to capture these snapshots of the internet the entire internet
00:00:26as much as it can crawl and store and so if you've ever found a broken your L. you can go to archived at Oregon going to the way back machine and see if there's a a copy it's been stored within the archive this is because Brister cal had
00:00:40this vision to be able to provide universal access to all human knowledge and he saw this tragedy of what was happening on the web which was that there's all this cultural folk art that was just disappearing research told me that the average lifetime of a single web pages
00:00:55around a hundred days before it's either changed or deleted and so if you wanna culture then you need to have a way of preserving your cultural heritage and libraries used to take on that role you stood by a books and have multiple copies all around into different libraries
00:01:09around the country but what's happening with the internet is that with the centralized choke points once things go off line then they're offline for ever and so Bruce isn't thinking a lot about trying to create a internet architecture that's going to be much more self preserving and self
00:01:23archiving and resilience to both censorship but also making information available for people if they want to see it but there's also things that he was motivated in terms of the Edward Snowden revelations of how this open web that we've created has been basically transformed into this spy network
00:01:39for these centralized governments in these ad networks have been created by these major companies are not completely resilient to being infiltrated to hostile foreign nations to be able to conduct information warfare on a populous and so and think about all these various different issues when asked by these
00:01:55five major foundations of Mozilla foundation and the open society knight foundation macarthur foundation the Ford Foundation like when asked what would be the moon shot for the internet he really wanted to build a decentralized internet and so at this decentralized web summit they announced this D. web dot
00:02:11archive dot org which is a decentralized version of the internet archive end to put this in a bit of a context for virtual reality when we think about the metaverse and we think about you know what is this matter is going to be is going to be controlled
00:02:24by one corporation like as depicted and ready player one or is going to be a decentralized metaverse that is open and being able to preserve our free speech and our freedom of expression but also make it much more active role in terms of how values being redistributed to
00:02:39the entire community so there's a lot of applications for what the future of this decentralized immersive web is going to look like and Brewster's kind of on the front lines of trying to figure out a lot of these open questions and to help actually put a lot of
00:02:52money into backing supporting a lot of these different initiatives to be able to really bootstrap this decentralized web so that's were coming on today's episode of the voices of the our podcast so this interview with Brewster happened on Wednesday August first two thousand eighteen at the decentralized web
00:03:07summit in San Francisco California so with that let's go ahead and dive right in Brewster kale founder and digital librarian of the internet archive for me one night I really realize I've got to spend a lot of serious time on this was the Snowden revelations that basically we've
00:03:26taken what has been an age just a huge sharing experiment which has been the worldwide web of people opening themselves up and finding out that were being spied on at scale and then the next real kick in the pants was how the last presidential election proceeded with fake
00:03:48news with manipulation of populations by using ad networks to push elections around with people being manipulated without knowing they're being manipulated really has put a lot of emphasis for me and running the internet archive where I see ourselves in a civic society role were trying to make our
00:04:12technology that makes it so there lots of winners that that end users aren't being punked that we're not lining people up for slaughter that we're not building a system that's negative so isn't okay we build the stuff the first time around let's go and fix this thing and
00:04:31fortunately we've got a bunch of toys to be able to play with the Tim Berners Lee didn't have the first time we have encryption that's legal this time or it wasn't legal when Tim came out with the system we've got Java script to be able to go and
00:04:44download software to the browser and use the browser not just for displaying a page but be being an application that's the magic behind a Google doc or a Google map or or the like but we can actually run the whole computer systems we can build an operating system
00:05:00by linking the web browsers of the internet so we can build a decentralized web and what would we do if we could do that what would be the values we want to bake into the code this time around can we make it censorship resistant can we make it
00:05:19so there's freedom of expression and freedom of the press baked and can we make it to his reader privacy see as much better protected so that what it is you're looking at can't be easily scooped up and re sold or used for interrogations by government operations or anybody
00:05:36can we build these things the answer is absolutely we can and the decentralized web summit is a fabulous coming together of the original gangstas weathers the been service and Tim Berners Lee's and the younger group that's making next generation decentralized systems whether it's blocked chain it's gotten so
00:05:59much attention but there's no other systems for going into a peer to peer storage of materials peer to peer data bases so you could run a Twitter but decentralized you could do a slack but decentralize you could you a global doc but the centralized well I'd like to
00:06:18make it to the cool new technologies that are coming out don't always have a creepy aspect to it which seems to be the case all these new technologies like yeah but who's getting what information you want to be nice to just have new technology that didn't have the
00:06:33creep factor I think that's the north star that we should be going towards and we have six hundred and fifty people the builders architects but also lawyers in humanitarians around the world that are trying to reshape what the worldwide web can become based on experience of where we've
00:06:52come from yeah there seems to be these phenomenal polarities whether it's centralization decentralization whether it's this young and again of the competitive in the cooperative aspects and I to me the economics of the foundations of either the centralized or decentralized web is it a big open question in
00:07:11my mind what's going to fund it but I'm curious to hear from you and your own personal journey of having some successes and building different start ups to accumulate a lot of wealth and then to decide to start something like the internet archive to try to preserve this
00:07:27cultural heritage of the twenty first century's version of the library of Alexandria to do this education and make this available but that was a decision that you made but that's not necessarily baked within that algorithmic systems of our society and I don't know if it's going to be
00:07:45%HESITATION able to ever make it sort of algorithmic work it's always gonna have to be a decision of those who are big winners are going to have to make that choice or how to make the economics of all this really sustainable yes I I sold the company AOL
00:07:59and Amazon did very well but it's always in the service of this broader goal of trying to make universal access to all knowledge some may seem kind of unintuitive that if you keep a sort of big public goal in mind that you can be successfully rewarded in the
00:08:17mean time but actually I found that to be the case completely in my journey I've been more successful the more I've given away because the more I've given away the more impact I've had the more impact I've had the more people want to help and it's a little
00:08:34on obvious with sort of classic economics where you have to hoard things and you know because a monopoly to go and be successful I haven't found that to be the case and a lot of others have also done just perfectly well by going in and trying to drive
00:08:52towards a very big positive goal and pick a goal that is outside of your ability to do it alone I and I I really am very sorry for the people that that set the goal of I want to make a million dollars because what happens when you make
00:09:06that million I I think it's kinda like Moby Dick what a I've actually got his whale he went down with it and I I I think Marvin Minsky who maybe didn't coin the word with an ARI in artificial intelligence it was a goal that was so big and
00:09:23lofty that lots of people knew how to work towards that goal without all working in the same organization so for me the equivalent was universal access to all knowledge and that's been the sort of Guiding Light and how do we do that and right now we've got a
00:09:41web that's caught fire walls on the internet archives completely blocked in China and it's completely blocked I think in Turkey and sometimes blocked in parts of India and why this doesn't make any sense at all so if there's some mechanisms to go and build technologies that make it
00:10:02so that things are universally accessible and over time so that as people publish things they don't solve blink off of the web the average life of a web pages one hundred days before it's either changed or deleted Hundred Days in its called pages right so it sounds like
00:10:20paper Redlands last hundreds of years well this stuff doesn't and so the internet archive has been trying to pass this by going in building the way back machine archive dot org re type the U. R. L. C. past web page is awesome but really we want to build
00:10:35into the system itself can we go and build the next generation web that has a memory to it so it's more like yet or we were you can go and check out past versions in easy easily you could for websites you can run old websites even after they've
00:10:52taken them down because they're still useful to like run them in the sense of code that runs not just what did the web pages look like so these are some of the goals out of the decentralized web for me reliable reader private but still fun and interesting let's
00:11:08make it so there's code that's downloadable that runs as part of the decentralized WebCT build apps whether it's VR type apps or Google docs like apps were peer to peer distribution systems into the web itself this is what this group is coming together to try to pilot and
00:11:28we now have a working code we have de web dot archive dot org we've been working on this for awhile we've archive dot org which is forty petabytes of books music video web pages and we now have a read only version it kinda works it's a little %HESITATION
00:11:42it's like a swap meet where you real look at the engine of the car but you can go to the web dot archive dot org and be able to see a read only version because we don't know what I'd %HESITATION decentralized identities yet of forty petabytes of data
00:11:58is pretty cool so we're now at the point there's demos and working code coming up of this decentralized vision so I think one of the metaphors I think about in terms of how this might work is that you have right now what you can kinda see as passive
00:12:14consumption where someone else is taking care of all the logistics of centralizing in maintaining and paying for the servers that are out there and if I I as a website creator wanna put information out there I have to pay for that and so there's sort of a burden
00:12:28on the content creators to do that but it seems like a little bit of a switch such that if you want content to get out there it's almost like the ones that are most widely distributed rather than it being super expensive it actually becomes cheaper for it to
00:12:40get out there but you kind of switching that burden on those individual content creators on to the consumers to become active participants in both consuming and redistributing that content but at that same time those active participants have to figure out how to get content updates persistent in all
00:12:58these things that they may not be worried about like basically becoming system bands and their own ways it especially if you have mobile phones were you manage battery power and you know there's this sort of pragmatic element of what is the mechanism by which individuals if they wanted
00:13:12to participate could actually be broadcast misinformation out there into this sort of vision of the decentralized web but a kind of moving from a passive consumer to an active participant in the redistribution of content you're absolutely right so basically all the readers become writers or or at least
00:13:28hosts and servers when we can't live just exactly on that I think that was the feeling a bit torrent so bit torrent basically has the people that have read files serve them again but if you don't have a cedar of last resort if you don't have archives built
00:13:43into it in only the popular survives that's not good enough you can't run a culture that way and we saw what happened bit towards mostly use for really popular things like operating systems in movies so what if we want to build something else we want this peer to
00:13:58peer so you have people near you or the people that are reading your stuff also start serving it but we need super notes built in as well and we need them motivated and different reasons so some super notes I'd suggest in the decentralized web will be people like
00:14:13ISPs the internet service providers that are going to want faster response for their users so this would be like a CD and a content distribution network that anybody could use just by using the decentralized web and the ISPs would go and make things available but they don't have
00:14:31any real commitment to long term but archives do so can we going get archives like archive dot org internet archive to comb play a permanent role and so we're going and saying yes to every decentralized system that's coming around and saying we want to be a supernode in
00:14:47your network we've offered everything via bit torrent that on the internet archive but it doesn't make it so that other people that go on post are necessarily bit torrent did and and served off the archive so we'd like in this next generation of technologies let's make it so
00:15:04that yes it'll still work with just peer to peer but they're super nose and incentives built all the way into the stack and I tend to see technology is a reflection of humanity and our culture and that sometimes we like to use a technological solution to address what
00:15:22may be a fundamental human dynamic and one example that comes to mind is like illegal contents like say child **** or something like this which is illegal in there's a lot of laws around that but if you have something like a decentralized system and you get this content
00:15:37out there then once it's out there it's out there and then how do you sort of take it back so I'm just to hear what you think about that in terms of these issues of the decentralized web and that type of content decentralized web more censorship resistant I
00:15:52guess you'd say but good people want to take things down and bad people want to take things down and then sometimes there who is good or bad tends to be a very decentralized web makes it more difficult but not impossible so what's starting to happen now with platforms
00:16:07where governments are going saying these are things we don't want on any of these platforms are circulating a set of hashes or identifiers for files that are things that are improper within some definition that they think is improper and they want other people to not host them then
00:16:24they pass around these hashes and then these platform companies do whatever they're going to do with them their pay attention or they don't pay attention to them I think that's going to be how it works in the decentralized web that there's going to be things that are like
00:16:38I was not have that up there or you know the internet archive is really does not invested in serving that kind of material so they'll be things that will take down totally different take down procedure but it'll still exist I think we've had a system now where there's
00:16:53only been one copy it's been on the web server came from and if that person or owner or ad man ever wanted to go away they can just blink at all and that's too fragile we've seen that now with the United States government taking off a lot of
00:17:07these documents that have been up for a long time and in fact it's not up to a publisher to be its own are hi but that's what they worldwide web allows no or it's the only thing that allows and so the website is the arbiter of everything in
00:17:20the future we're locked into that future so why don't we build archives in libraries and replication into the system like how we grew up when there are libraries that bought multiple copies of books so if one library burned down in the book didn't go away they would be
00:17:35available from the others this is more the the central idea of the decentralized web is in some sense to bring back some of the robustness that we've had for centuries on how to run a culture in censorship seems to be a big topic here also when you look
00:17:53at countries like China I reason within China and was dealing with the great China firewall not able to have access to either Facebook or Twitter or YouTube or in a whole range of sites of new sites that I couldn't have access to and so is also the vision
00:18:08of the decentralized web summit to be able to find ways of circumventing governmental censorship I think there's going to be sophisticated places like China they'll do all sorts of things to be able to thwart any challenges to their authority but I think there's a lot of cases that
00:18:26it's more arbitrary and sort of broken and I think the decentralized technologies will work better for it in India for instance there are some judges that just make these judgments in tiny courts reflecting interests of music or movie producers and they'd just give a list of websites they
00:18:45want to have taken off and then if some random judge goes as Ashur let's take archive dot org off I is busy circulates eyes peas and the wool website starts blinking off line force at the people in India I think that kind of clumsy not terribly thought through
00:19:04forms of takedowns the decentralized web will will correct great so for you what are some of the either biggest problems that you're trying to solve or open questions that you're trying to answer trying to solve some of the problems raised by Edward Snowden and from the last presidential
00:19:24election cycle so Snowden showed that their existing web has become a large scale spy network that's spied on by governments in large corporations and the last presidential election cycle show that were being manipulated must part of large scale advertising networks and fake news networks of trolls and we
00:19:45need a better web system to work and we were way too dependent on the information we get online to have this kind of inefficiencies and clumsiness to survive so we need to fix the technologies the ways that we look to do that is with the peer to peer
00:20:01back and for the web so that it's gonna works a little bit more like bit torrent if you will in terms of where web pages and web resources come from but we also no need decentralized identity we need a decentralized naming so you can have websites that are
00:20:17named in the intuitive ways and make that work so we have a lot to do we're starting to see here at the decentralized web summit some existing system starting to work so do you ever done archive dot org I think it's kinda cool but there's crypto Katie said
00:20:33there's a bunch of different they're mostly devils but it's based on a lot of hard work of people doing it protocol and implementation behind the scenes to make decentralized web work and in talking to Wendy she said that there is a about a list of thirteen questions that
00:20:50you're trying to address amongst the larger initiatives of decentralization maybe you could talk about some of what you see is some of the hottest like open questions there in the field of decentralization some of the hard questions are I around identity or how do you do permissions when
00:21:05these files are living other places do you do with encryption is it's just who you have keys how do you do key management it's really hard radio to try to keep your %HESITATION your big pointy is much less a bunch of different keys or password so we have
00:21:20a lot to different websites it's everybody's problem and we'll have that in spades in the decentralized web authentication systems security of different forms I I think one aspect is applications that are really usable by end users so how do we make it so you can click Sir using
00:21:40things and you don't care whether it's decentralized or not it's just better can we take the creepy out of new applications can we make it to the U. eyes works so well and yes there on a decentralized back and but actually you wouldn't care but it just is
00:21:55better I want blank but decentralize we put a lot of different blanks in there Twitter but decentralized Google docs but decentralized Google maps but decentralized wordpress but decentralized I'm hoping that over the next year two years we start to see a whole plethora of these coming out from
00:22:15those original companies or for a new start ups they go and say look you know it's too fragile to go and run things where all your data is on somebody else's servers that might be in a country you don't know exactly trust and people are starting to not
00:22:30trust the United States for everything so how do we go in and make these systems work I think it's valid business models so real funded fungible real ways of going as well as civic society organizations like the internet archive that are trying to do this just because it's
00:22:49our duty to do things in the public interest and %HESITATION and finally what do you think is kind of the ultimate potential of decentralized systems and what might be able to enable the ultimate goal for me is to have it so cool kids that want to do something
00:23:08new and different in me do it on this new a form of technologies that are serving all of us so when you're a band and you want to go and sell your new record you do it on the decentralized web when you're publishing something in scientific journal you
00:23:24do it on that decentralized web and you put the data behind it on the decentralized web that we have universities and companies and governments all supporting and doing their part to archive to make permanent the good works that are being made of over the decentralized web the decentralized
00:23:43web can be a smooth evolution from the existing web but it can be a very exciting future is there anything else that's left unsaid that you'd like to say to the decentralized community dive in get going try something good at the web dot archive dot org and complain
00:24:00about it and go to get up and fix it go in and just child IPF estreia crypto kiddies just dive in and get going is an exciting area it's not easy and it requires people everywhere from artists humanitarians to lawyers right now also a lot of coders %HESITATION
00:24:20smoke restrain just wanted to thank you for joining me on the podcast so thank you thank you very much so that was Prester Kael he's the founder of the internet archive and one of the visionaries behind the decentralized web summit so I'm a number different ticket was about
00:24:35this interview is that first of all there's a lot of experiments that are happening right now in a decentralized web and what I can say is that Brewster Kael is putting all of his effort initiative to support as many of those initiatives that are out there not only
00:24:48by holding this decentralized web summit in providing a platform to help bring all these people together but also just putting out code you know the deep web dot archive dot org isn't example of what's possible with bringing all these different technologies together and you know there's this issue
00:25:04right now of freedom of speech and censorship and the abuses of power that comes from centralized entities that whether it's a corporation or company or a government you know when I was at Sundance this year I went to see a documentary called the cleaners now something like Facebook
00:25:20or YouTube or Twitter whenever there is a constant violation that submitted it goes off to this country in Malaysia where there's people who are from a completely different culture and their incentives are to not get it wrong if they get too many of them wrong then they basically
00:25:33get fired and so any content violations that reported there's this defaulting to suppressing that speech and expression rather than to let it be out there and so that's happening at the most extreme edges of society in these different groups but it's happening every day within the context of
00:25:48like in China and Turkey in India you know even with the internet archive Krister kill shared this story at the decentralized web summit where he says he gets a phone call from a representative from the Chinese consulate saying Hey there's this video that you need to take down
00:26:02and he's like okay sure fine we'll go ahead and take it down for the region of China and the representative from the Chinese consulate was like no you have to take it down for the entire world and Brewster was like well we're not going to do that and
00:26:13then China ended up blocking the internet archives and so you have an entity like the internet archive who's trying to provide this universal access to all human knowledge and you know having to face these different types of governments like China saying Hey we want you to censor this
00:26:27information and if they don't then they basically get blocked over billion people within China don't have access now to this cultural heritage that the internet archive is been collecting it so if you start to extrapolate that out for anybody that said international and global company having to interface
00:26:43with all these governments you have this dynamic where each of these governments gonna start to create this balkanized internet where it's not even gonna be sure what is going to be able to be shared amongst the different rules are different centralized powers are going to want to have
00:26:56specific information not be able to be shared and so do you have this balkanization that's happening in the censorship and I think a lot of the initiatives that are happening at the decent size web summit were thinking about well how can you create these either decent sized mesh
00:27:08networks what are the economic incentives %HESITATION what are the protocols be able actually enable this and are you able to actually create a platform that's as consistent and reliable than a centralized in the part of the reason why I made this implies and is so successful is because
00:27:23the table to do things like eliminate span and have a really great user experience and it's consistent reliable and that gets better with the economies of scale with the centralized in cities but the trade off is the loss of freedom and control and power when the centralized powers
00:27:38end up gaining too much power and control and that's part of the thing that he's also pointing to which was the Snowden revelations which is essentially these revelations that the US government's were in cahoots and collaborating with all of these major tech companies to be able to essentially
00:27:52siphoning get a direct feed from all of this private information and data and so there's the weaponization of not only information for you know information warfare done through the ad networks the you know on the front end but on the back and to be able to feed into
00:28:07these intelligence agencies and these government agencies all this personal data about ourselves that is basically becoming into this massive surveillance state and Big Brother so you have this centralization issues that I see that the abuses of power that are happening either at the corporate level or the governmental
00:28:24level and that the antidote to that is these decentralized web platforms now it's an open question as to whether not these decent sized web would be anymore resilience as these same kind of threats that are coming today but I think the overall thing that I'm getting is you
00:28:39know how do you actually embed your values into either the culture or into providing different networks that are censorship resistant have freedom of expression the freedom of the press and read our privacy but also there are gonna be issues of content that is going to be beyond the
00:28:54pale and crossing the line of legality so you know if it is censorship resilient than you know what about the content that you know has a legitimate reason for not being out there and and that could be you know somebody's propagating more trauma and harm and what Chris
00:29:07just said is that there's gonna be people who are good people that are wanting stuff to be taken down for good reason and the people who are going to be wanting to have information taken down for reasons that may be completely self interested rather than when interest of
00:29:18the entire collective so I think it's a bit of a wait and see and you know if you're excited about this vision of creating something different and I encourage people to go ahead and start building on both with some of these decentralized web technologies you know there's a
00:29:30number of different metaphors that rooster was talking about in his talk which is you know when he was able to see with Jason Scott that you're able to do an emulator of the arcade game basically similar to computer within context of a web browser and to be able
00:29:43to do that safely now of a sudden you have like these computers and these web applications that are running the context of a browser that is going to be able to bootstrap this whole decentralized web where you have these different nodes where if you're downloading different content then
00:29:56that browser tab as long as it's open constructed then serve out other people into this kind of bit torrent like pure to peer sharing network with things like I PF fastened other types of technologies and so being able to take individuals computers and be able to connect them
00:30:12directly right now we black people go through the internet service providers but these decentralize mesh networks are going to be potentially some alternate internet that is completely decentralized and this is something that is being depicted in Silicon Valley of work fiction meets reality where this is what a
00:30:29lot of people at the decentralized website are actually trying to figure out and actually trying to build and figure out all of the economic incentives and waste actually sustain it and to get people to collaborate and participate as a culture but also the legal implications of law around
00:30:43it as well as the architecture in the code in the different protocols to make it all happen so the decentralized web some it was really inspiring gathering and it felt problem in the very first day that were there there's just people in the hallways just buzzing and talking
00:30:56to each other and you just sense that there is something that was really coming that this was a time where there is enough people of a critical mass in a lot of the different core technologies that are out there to actually start to build this I mean there
00:31:07is some working code that was being shown at the decentralized web summit both from solid from timbers the in in my tea as well as the web archive dot org and many different other examples that are out there building decentralized web applications so I'll be covering more takeaways
00:31:23in insights from decentralized web summit especially as it relates to virtuality technologies more explicitly but I've got a few more interviews to kind of cover to be able to talk about these larger ecosystem issues when it comes to both the law and the technology and the different economic
00:31:38dynamics are happening around technology today so that's what I have for today and I just wanted to thank you for listening to the voices of their podcast and if you enjoy the podcast then please to spread the word tell your friends %HESITATION sure these on social media and
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